Work Hard. Rest Well.
On August 15, about 40 new residents and I started training for our new jobs with the Austin Stone Community Church and the For the City Network. On the second day of training, one of our Austin Stone Institute leaders explained a fundamental value of the Austin Stone as a company:
Work hard. Rest well.
In my head, I thought, "yeah!!! No more school! No more homework! I get to go home and REST." Only to go home that day and realize I didn't actually understand HOW to rest. For the past few years of college, I don't think I actually understood this concept of resting. Even if I wasn't physically multitasking, I always kept a million things going on in my head.
In this culture of multitasking, I just ended up chipping away at any understanding I could possibly have of rest.
However, right now I'm also learning that adulting takes some serious work. For me, adulthood is like working at camp full-time, year-round. During my summer at Pine Cove I learned the importance of giving 100%, always. Every week, you go, go, go- 100%. You don't zone out and stop trying to show the campers love by the end of the week, no matter how tired and worn out you get. Then, you have a weekend to rest, recharge and hit "reset" every Sunday, preparing for every week as if it's the first.
We all have the opportunity to do ministry work- in our homes, in our classes, in our jobs.
I'm learning that, yes, adulthood is hard, but when you have the chance to do ministry daily, you just have to give it all you have. You don't give 100% Week One, then 75% Week Two...50% Week Three, and keep dwindling down until you're a shell of a human by the end.
But it certainly is difficult! We have to remember to rest. After all, it is only through Christ's strength that we can give 100%.
While "Work Hard. Rest Well." is an awesome mantra, the bible has tons to say on the subject as well.
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men," -Colossians 3:23
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 5:16
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." -1 Corinthians 15:58
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:38-30
"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." -Psalm 4:8
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." -Isaiah 26:3
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." -Psalm 23:1-3
God calls us to do our work in excellence- for us to know that all the little things we do will be a part of something greater. He reminds us that it is in Him we will find the best resting place. He will restore our souls!
During this year of my residency I know that the Lord will grow me like never before. I've seen Him do it in just three weeks!
If you want to know even more about the work I'm doing with For the City here's a little recap on the past few weeks:
For starters, it is amazing to observe the way the Austin Stone runs in the company setting. These people know how to do ministry!
Just one little example of that is our weekly staff meetings: once a week the staff of the Austin Stone and the For the City Network meets at the St. John's Campus. The staff alone fills up the St. John's auditorium. On August 16, the other residents and I joined the staff members for the first time in a worship service and preview of the upcoming Sunday's sermon. How neat that we get to take some time to reset our focus on why we're doing all our daily duties: to glorify God.
And the staff and leadership!!! my goodness! Everyone serves with such humility. I have felt so welcomed and embraced by my team. The environment in our office is so full of joy and love; I know that they care about me as a person far beyond the tasks I complete.
I left my first week of work thinking, "I feel like I shouldn't be enjoying work THIS much. Is this normal??" but hey, we serve no average God. We serve an extraordinary God, and when He saturates the workplace, there's bound to be great joy there.
Working as a communications resident is especially sweet for me because we get to help bridge people to causes, and just getting to be a part of that in the tiniest way is so exciting.
My first week in the office I helped format a website to be used exclusively for the For the City Center. So for those who may have never heard of For the City- the For the City Network is the company I work for. The purpose of the FTCN is to seek restoration in our city by creating a network of non-profits. It helps volunteers find a way to serve.
The For the City Center was built in 2010 to be used by the community. The hope is to make the building available to rent out to the community and non-profits, so it can be used to make a difference in Austin seven days a week- not just on Sundays for church services. It's not just a building- it's a service hub.
I'm also currently helping with the development for a website and marketing for Petra Preschool, which is a preschool For the City is launching to show God’s love by providing education, care and support to a diverse population in Austin including foster children, economically disadvantaged children, and their families.
Next, we'll be launching on to help get a site out for the human trafficking initiative. I can't wait to share all of these soon!
Through all of this, I'm learning how to effectively communicate the missions of these branches of For the City to better share their stories with others.
In the midst of daily tasks, I can step back and see how much of a privilege it is to be part of an organization so dedicated to share Christ's love and actively fight for justice. To know that one day the website or video I'm working on might help someone connect to a foster kid or teach someone how to fight human trafficking, is extremely humbling. At the end of the day, I'm just one tiny little building block in the bridge of getting more people involved with these great causes.
Jesus puts it all together.
Cover Photo: a photo my fiancé snapped from our spontaneous beach trip with his fam. Yay for rest and sitting in awe of the beauty of the Lord's creation!